Labour MEPs: May cannot ignore European Parliament’s warnings and must not weaken standards or rights

Theresa May and the UK government must take note of the message of yesterday’s vote in Strasbourg, if it is to have any chance of making progress in the negotiations, Labour MEPs warned as the European Parliament set out its view ahead of next week’s European Council (summit) that will determine the position of the EU-27 on where the Brexit talks are, what has been decided and what the next stage is.

Richard Corbett MEP, Labour’s Leader in the European Parliament, said:

“The chaos and confusion of the UK government, and its insistence on red lines that are incompatible with its other demands, has led to the EU being able to offer only a low-level Free Trade Agreement, which will result in more barriers and less trade than now, and could at the same time see UK citizens losing rights and protections.

“The European Parliament was clear today that it would not endorse a deal that results in the UK competing in Europe on the basis of lower standards that would also weaken the rights and protections British citizens currently enjoy.

“In the European Parliament and outside, Labour MEPs will continue to push for any future UK-EU relationship to guarantee the rights of the three million EU citizens in the UK and 1.3 million Brits in the rest of the EU, to protect the existing workplace, consumer and environmental rights and standards that UK citizens currently enjoy, and to ensure there is no hardening of the Irish border.

“If the UK leaves the EU, it is essential that existing legal rights are entrenched in a way that protects citizens, including through the binding application of existing EU law as interpreted by the ECJ, and that the UK does not diverge from and downgrade these rights in the future.

“Having ruled out option after option to appease the Brexit hardliners in her party, it is increasingly clear that whatever ‘deal’ Theresa May comes back with will be a job-destroying Brexit that drags Britain towards a future with fewer jobs, less trade and diminished rights – a future that bears no resemblance to the promises made by Brexiters at the time of the referendum.”